As one of the easiest illicit drugs to obtain, Ecstasy is one of the most threatening and dangerous drugs currently facing young people. The pills, which are usually brown, white, or yellow but can come in a variety of colors, are doled out almost anywhere. They have become extremely popular at parties, concerts, raves, and a variety of other social events.
What Is Ecstasy?
Ecstasy, its official name MDMA, is a synthetic drug that acts as a stimulant as well as a hallucinogen. Known as a lover’s drug, Ecstasy provides euphoric and energetic sensations. The drug affects the brain by chemically altering the neurotransmitters that allow parts of the brain to communicate with each other. It is a Schedule 1 drug in the United States, which means there is no medically acceptable use of the drug.
Known as a club drug, Ecstasy most often makes its appearance at clubs, bars, raves, parties, and concerts. It is known for producing euphoric sensations and increased energy. In social settings, Ecstasy appears to be favored over many others as it also lowers inhibitions, fosters feelings of intimacy, and increases sensitivity to a variety of physical and psychological sensations.
The drug is also known by many other street names, including:
• Love Drug
• Lover’s Speed
Where Does It Come From?
MDMA was first developed in the early 1900s as an appetite suppressor. Later, it became used as a psychotherapeutic drug and became available on the street in the late 1970s. Ecstasy officially became an illegal, controlled substance in 1985, putting it into the same class as other narcotics such as cocaine, heroin, and LSD. Today, the drug is rarely seen in its pure form. Because it is difficult to manufacture, the primary ingredients often include substitutes that makes it extremely dangerous.
How is It Used?
Most often, Ecstasy is taken orally in its pill form. However, there are additional ways for users to consume the drug. Some individuals will crush the pill, which creates a powder, then is snorted. Others will “shaft” the drug, inserting it anally or vaginally as a suppository. Rare reports include smoking the powdered form of Ecstasy, or injecting it in a melted form; however, those are not typical methods of ingesting the drug. Chronic usage of Ecstasy can occur in as little as two weeks.
What are the Signs of an Ecstasy Addiction?
Individuals using ecstasy will suffer from a variety of symptoms. Those around the user can observe some of the symptoms physically, while others may only be known by the user.
Physical Signs and Symptoms include:
• Increased body temperature or cold sweats
• Dilated pupils
• Nausea or vomiting
• Involuntary teeth clenching
• Muscle tremors
• Muscle cramps
• Difficulty sleeping
• Weight loss
• Loss of appetite
• Increased heart rate and blood pressure
Internal Signs and Symptoms include:
• Uncontrolled cravings for more Ecstasy
• Uncontrollable and obsessive thoughts of Ecstasy
• Double vision
• Blurred vision
What Are the Consequences of Using Ecstasy?
Ecstasy use provides a variety of both short and long term effects. In the short-term, during use and even a few weeks after, Ecstasy causes psychological difficulties such as disorientation, depression, paranoia, severe anxiety, and sleep difficulties. The drug also affects the user physically with nausea, blurred vision, rapid eye movement, muscle spasms and tension, involuntary teeth clenching, fever, sweating, or chills. However, long term effects may be even more significant. Recently, Ecstasy usage has been linked with memory loss as well as the depletion of serotonin, a naturally occurring brain chemical that regulates sleeping patterns, mood, sexual function, and sensitivity to pain. Long-term effects of prolonged Ecstasy usage can also include liver damage, cognitive impairment, and brain damage.
When to Help
As soon as you suspect that a friend or family member is using Ecstasy, you should immediately intervene or seek help. Medical attention should be sought immediately if any of the following symptoms are observed, as they can be indicative of an Ecstasy overdose:
• Rapid heartbeat
• Loss of consciousness
• Feeling a significant increase in body temperature without sweating
• Loss of control of bodily functions or movements
As with most drugs, the sooner you intervene, the better. A drug such as Ecstasy has an obvious appeal to young people and those seeking thrills. And although the intent is not to become addicted, but to intensify the party, the mood, or the moment, the addict may not even realize he or she is addicted. Again, the sooner you see the above-mentioned symptoms, seek out help.